14 Signs Your Current Mobile App Needs Improvement

It is a well-known fact that app maintenance is an important element of successful apps. Once an app launches in the market, the development team needs to dedicate sufficient resources to fix bugs, monitor usage, build new features, tweak existing ones, and do anything else necessary to keep users happy. If you are not doing this with your app, you are inhibiting chances to grow your app and existing users may end up leaving altogether. To paint a clearer picture, let us explore some common signs that your current app needs improvement.

1. Number of Uninstalls

It is important to keep an eye on data related to new downloads of your app. It is a key metric for tracking the growth of your app. However, the number of new downloads should be compared to the number of active daily, weekly, and monthly users. If there is no steady growth in active users, it might mean that your app is getting installed and then quickly uninstalled. Low user retention is common in apps that have not been well thought out in terms of value and design.




2. User Reviews

The comment section on app stores will often give an honest picture of what users think of your app. In fact, users who uninstall your app tend to leave honest feedback on this section. Keeping an eye on user comments could reveal fundamental design flaws in your app or point to something that takes a few hours to fix. Either way, do not ignore the comments. Negative reviews may aid your product roadmap in ways that five-star reviews may not. Bad reviews often mean that users had high expectations and their needs remain unmet. The challenge should be to meet their needs in the next iteration of your app.

3. Frequent Downtime

An app that keeps crashing can frustrate customers who were initially happy and lead to uninstallations. Vigorous app testing in real user environments is necessary to identify and fix bugs before launch. You may realize problems in the code, especially where unexpected errors were not accounted for (exception handling).

Improper memory management is another common cause of app downtime. Apps that take up too much memory even when running in the background will cause the hardware device to crash or freeze. Good development practice requires that an app takes up memory efficiently and then releases unused memory resources.

4. Low User Engagement

There are many subjective ways of assessing how well your app users are engaging with your app. A common way is to monitor how well they are fulfilling the need that brought them to the app. For instance, if you have an e-commerce app, check whether you have a high proportion of abandoned carts. Could users be facing issues with the checkout process? Are there pages in your app that users do not visit? How navigable is your app?

Your team should be able to develop hypotheses, collect data, and hopefully answer these questions.

5. Old Design and UI

App UIs have improved so much in the last decade as companies dedicate more resources to creating more aesthetic UIs. Apps are designed to feel as natural to use as possible for maximum user retention. Because of having so many well-designed apps, users today subconsciously recognize an app with bad UI/UX within the first few minutes after downloading. There is data to show that over 90% of users form an opinion regarding an app or website based on design rather than content. Among the main reasons for poor user retention, UI ranks quite high. If your app still features an old design, you need to invest sufficient resources to reimagine the UI/UX. Such a change gives users the impression that the app is seeking to improve its offering.

6. Missing Features

Whereas the app design may be fine, user feedback may indicate that a fundamental feature or functionality that would greatly improve utility is missing. The business has then invested money into researching, building, and testing such a feature. New features could also be a result of market research. Introducing something that competing apps are not could immensely improve your app’s value proposition and it can power rapid market acquisition. A well-implemented feature could be a source of sustained competitive advantage.

7. Security Breaches and Concerns

Security is always an important concern for apps that collect and handle personally identifiable information. Businesses that own such apps must invest resources to regularly test the robustness of the app because threats are evolving continuously. If tests reveal potential vulnerabilities, the app cannot go to market if it has not been launched yet. In the unfortunate case of an actual breach, the business has to reveal to users and relevant authorities the extent of such a breach. They also must detail the steps taken to correct the situation.

8. The Need for Personalization

Content-driven apps, such as on-demand streaming apps, today thrive due to their ability to provide personalized feeds for users, powered by artificial intelligence. The need to incorporate personalization for a better user experience is a valid reason for seeking to improve your app. If competing apps gain first-mover advantage by personalizing content for users, your app may struggle to regain a favorable position. This, therefore, should happen as a proactive move rather than a reaction.

9. Incorporating Analytics

Apps can provide precious data on users that could be used for the improvement of the current app but also for building new products. To say that data is the new oil is an understatement. If your app is not optimized to gather useful data on user trends and behaviors, you are way behind the curve. You need to integrate tools to help you to better understand who you serve.

Data should help you make objective decisions on all aspects of your apps including the need for new features, placement of buttons, improving user engagement and more. There are numerous mobile app analytics tools you can integrate into your app depending on the core features you wish to have. Some of the existing solutions come with added capabilities such as A/B testing and push notifications.

10. Increasing Calls to Support Centre

If your company’s IT support desk has been getting an increasing number of calls and messages regarding problems with the app, then some improvement is definitely due on the app. Perhaps a new feature was introduced without sufficient testing and is now causing a poor user experience. If this is happening, you should consider a new iteration of the app after conducting sufficient testing for robustness.

11. Incompatibility with new OS features

iOS and Android operating systems are constantly rolling out new capabilities to improve the experience of hardware device users. Creators of mobile apps have a duty to play to ensure that apps are compatible with such new features. For instance, signing in to an app using biometric authentication has become ubiquitous today. If your app still does not support this, then you should consider improving the app. The app should also support password managers that autofill a user’s credentials for easy sign-ins.

The dark mode is a common preference for a lot of app users today. Your development team should ensure that the app’s usability is not compromised if a user decides to use the app in such a mode.

Voice search is another useful feature on apps nowadays owing to the popularity of AI Assistants. If there is a case for users to interact with your app’s content using voice, then you should move toward the opportunity.

12. Adding a Native E-commerce Store

If your mobile app has no native e-commerce store, it might mean that you are using a web store that requires additional sign-in for customers before they make a purchase. You may want to rebuild your app with a native store for a smoother customer experience and support for modern payment wallets. It’s often surprising for business owners how much a shorter and pain-free purchase process affects the revenue potential of an app.

13. Poor Discoverability

You may have a great app in terms of design and features but the app might miss the proper app store optimization. This leads to problems with discoverability and growth. Perhaps there was no money allocated to publicity and marketing at the launch of the project. You may decide to rebrand and relaunch the app with proper publicity, including inviting influencers to review it. You then ensure that a fitting description is included with images of the various screens/pages users should expect to interact with. The correct categorization on app stores also matters for discoverability. You could also have the app ]feature in various listicles on industry blogs.

In other cases, official app stores may alter their guidelines leading to the delisting of your app. You have little choice but to find out the cause and implement the right fix.




14. An Ageing Codebase

The codebase of apps with many features is often long and complicated. Maintenance and improvement of the app will often include releasing small updates every few weeks or months to tweak the UI, fix bugs, or improve features. However, it reaches a point where the codebase slowly develops compatibility issues with new versions of operating systems. At that point, a major update to the codebase may be necessary. Consider an app that was built using Apple’s first version of Swift, an app development language, a decade ago. The codebase may be ageing considering there have been 5 new versions of Swift. It may be time to rebuild the codebase especially considering hardware devices have evolved so much in the last 10 years. Screens are bigger while video content has become more. Apps should be optimized for these.

How to Handle App Maintenance the Right Way

Indeed, there are more than a dozen reasons why a business may undertake an app maintenance project. Businesses must take a long-term view of app maintenance and set aside sufficient funds for annual maintenance. It is recommended that the equivalent of around 10% of the initial development costs should go to annual maintenance.

A proactive approach to maintenance ensures that the business maintains its reputation by responding quickly and efficiently to bugs and reports of bottlenecks in the UX. The development team should have sufficient resources to test and launch new features that keep users interested and engaged. The engagement has a direct impact on the revenue generation of the app.

The Right Team

Getting the right development team from the onset puts a business in good stead when it comes to maintenance. A strong code base and proper documentation are important for easy maintenance down the road. This is only possible when you work with a development team that takes a professional approach to the project.

At NS804, we endeavor to build and help clients maintain apps with a good ROI for business clients. If you are seeking a mobile app development team, reach out to us for a conversation about your needs.

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